News A defiant George Osborne during Treasury Questions in the House of Commons

George Osborne refused to rule out a cut in the top rate of tax from 45p to 40p today as the Conservatives and Labour clashed over the economy.

US jobless claims ease by 17,000

The outlook for the US labour market brightened a little yesterday after official figures showed a greater than anticipated decline in the number of Americans making new claims for unemployment benefits last week.

US inflation rises by 0.2 per cent in October

Inflation in America was slightly higher last month, but core consumer prices – which strip out the impact of volatile food and energy costs – rose at their slowest annual pace on record, official figures showed yesterday.

Spanish ministers in talks with business after zero growth

The Spanish government plans high-level meetings next week with private sector executives and labour representatives after the country reported zero growth in the third quarter.

Electoral slurs declared foul play as Woolas loses seat for personal attacks

Former immigration minister in three-year ban from Commons

Sir Jock Stirrup reveals Labour vetoed cuts to forces

Proposals put forward by defence chiefs for "painful" cuts to the armed forces were vetoed by Labour ministers, it was claimed yesterday. Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup,former chief of the defence staff, said that plans to reduce fast jet aircraft, ships and Army equipment were all overruled.

Dr Kelly wounds 'typical of self-inflicted injury'

Secret medical documents released today backed official conclusions that weapons inspector David Kelly killed himself as the Government sought to end speculation over his death.

Enlightenment, Hampstead Theatre, London

In one way it's business as usual at the Hampstead Theatre, a venue that draws its local audience from an area whose population is the densest in Europe – wait, the sentence isn't finished – with artists and writers. As before, the play takes on serious ideas and emotions but merely dabbles in them. But this first offering from Edward Hall, the new artistic director (who also directs the play) is a great step forward. While Hampstead plays, for the past several years, have delivered only irritation, dyspepsia and disbelief, Enlightenment is generous with entertainment – clever comedy, attractive and accomplished actors, a sparkling production. Rome wasn't built in a day.

Cold winter payments to Britain's poor may be cut

Emergency payments to help thousands of Britain's poorest pensioners and families pay for heating during cold snaps may be cut as part of the Coalition Government's spending review.

Steve Richards: Plenty of politics, but where was the economics in Osborne's speech?

Boris Johnson delivered a deftly crafted speech in which he put the case for public spending

Plan to delay Queen's Speech until 2012 sparks anger in House

The coalition government has been accused of a "major power grab" after announcing it will break more than 50 years of tradition by delaying the next Queen's Speech until 2012.

Read all about it: The secret dossier of lawbreaking that spells trouble for Rupert Murdoch...and David Cameron

Rebekah Brooks was among journalists who used a private detective who was later convicted

Sir Kenneth Clucas: Valued senior civil servant who later championed the cause of Citizens’ Advice Bureaux

Kenneth Clucas was one of the triumvirate of Permanent Secretaries appointed in the spring of 1974 when the incoming Labour Government broke up the old Department of Trade and Industry and created three departments out of it – Trade, Industry and Prices and Consumer Protection. Clucas got DPCP, not least due to a bit of wangling by Shirley Williams, the then-new Secretary of State. In her recent autobiography Climbing the Bookshelves she concludes "And that was how I came to get one of the best Permanent Secretaries in Whitehall".

US jobless figures set to raise fears of double dip

Investors are bracing themselves for another grim snapshot of the US labour market today, when the government is expected to confirm that unemployment is again on the rise.

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Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen